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Open Letter to Extinction Rebellion Campers

Open Letter to Extinction Rebellion Campers

UPDATE (21/04/2023):
After several days of worry, we are now very happy to report that Extinction Rebellion have listened to our concerns and those of their prospective campers. We understand they are no longer suggesting Barnes Common nature reserve as their No.2 campsite to Clapham.
 
We are thankful for their concern and help protecting our fragile habitats and invite anyone who agrees with our goals to become friends of Barnes Common, thus lending support to our initiatives on climate change, preserving biodiversity, nature education and more.

The following is our open letter, published on 20/04/2023, after we learned of XR’s plans of camping on the Common.

Open Letter to Extinction Rebellion Campers

To any persons thinking of using Barnes Common to camp while attending the XR Protest.

We are aware XR members are planning to camp on Barnes Common. We believe it is the first time that XR have proposed camping within a designated Nature Reserve, and we want to make sure that everyone is aware of the impact this could have.

Please clearly understand the following:

Barnes Common is a Local Nature Reserve and a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. It does not have the large tracts of amenity grass suitable for events that some other London parks used by XR can offer: even the fields used for sports are part of a valuable mosaic of habitats essential to the Common’s diverse ecology.

Barnes Common Friends is an active organisation that has campaigned and promoted the conservation and biodiversity of this site for over thirty years along with education and wellbeing. See our website barnescommon.org.uk to learn more about our work and become our friend.

There are many in Barnes who share your concerns but given that your aims are to conserve the world against the threats of extinction, by camping on Barnes Common, you will potentially be doing the complete opposite by harming the Common’s wildlife and its sensitive habitats. These include rare, internationally important, lowland dry acid grassland, some of which has been undisturbed for 150 years and is recognised as among the best quality in London. Additionally, neutral grasslands, woodlands and wetlands collectively support a population of invertebrates of national significance, along with locally rare and endangered species listed under the local Habitat and Species Action Plans.

It is early springtime, a critical time of year for the breeding and survival of so much of our ecosystem, from bacteria to fungi, to plants and higher life forms.

Please help us at Barnes Common Friends by camping elsewhere, where you will not be endangering nature conservation.

Barnes Common Friends